Undoing Time

A Breakthrough

New DNA technology helped absolve Pinkins of any wrongdoing. Photo: Robert Scheer/Indy Star

After nearly 17 years of exhausting what seemed like every option in Pinkins’ case, Watson became aware of a new technology in DNA processing that was ideal for identifying the men who actually committed the crimes for which Pinkins was serving time. A judge agreed to hear the new evidence.

Four days before the new hearing was set to take place, however, Watson got a call. Swayed by the new DNA findings, the prosecutor was filing a motion to throw out Pinkins’ conviction. The new evidence wouldn’t even need to be heard by a judge.

On the Friday before Pinkins was to be released, Watson arrived at the prison where he was currently being held. When Watson saw Pinkins that day, he was shuffling down the hall toward her, shackles restraining him at the wrists and ankles, and he was smiling. He was wearing the orange jumpsuit that he’d wear over the weekend and then, come Monday, never again.

Away from the crowds and cameras that had gathered outside, with the restraints removed from his arms and legs, Pinkins and Watson had a few minutes to talk in a quiet corner of the warden’s office. They sat close, facing each other, knee to knee, and held each other’s hands. Watson looked him in the eyes and said the words they’d both been waiting to hear for too many years.

“It’s over.”